Sarfraz Hussain, 49, of Birmingham, was yesterday (February 20) sentenced to 28 months in prison at Birmingham Crown Court.
He had pleaded guilty in January to four counts of supplying class C controlled drugs and three counts of possession with intent to supply.
Mr Hussain, who operated three pharmacies in the Small Heath and Erdington districts of the city and in the nearby town of Halesowen, admitted to supplying or intending to supply 1,443,036 doses of the controlled drugs.
The drugs were estimated to have a combined street value of between £854,000 and £1.4m.
Mr Hussain did not hold the Home Office controlled drug licence required to trade, import or export controlled drugs. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency began investigating when it noticed that, despite this, he was still placing large orders for class C drugs with suppliers.
560,000 tablets seized
The MHRA investigation revealed that Mr Hussain unlawfully supplied 31,537 packets of class C drugs, including zopiclone, diazepam, nitrazepam, zolpidem and zopiclone, between August 2015 and September 2016.
MHRA officers also seized 560,000 diazepam, nitrazepam and zopiclone tablets from Hussain’s three pharmacies.
Mark Jackson, MHRA head of enforcement, said: “It is a serious criminal offence to sell controlled drugs, which are also prescription-only medicines, without a prescription. We work relentlessly with regulatory and law enforcement colleagues to identify and prosecute those involved.
“Those who sell medicines illegally are exploiting vulnerable people and have no regard for their health. Prescription-only medicines are potent and should only be taken under medical supervision.”